Pub Date: 2012
Publisher: Self published
FTC: Print copy received from the author at RT14 in New Orleans
As a general rule, I avoid self published works. There's just been too much reviewer-bashing and an aversion to professional editing in that community. But I'm familiar enough with both Courtney Milan's professionalism AND her writing to set that aside. And I'm glad I did. I really liked this novella.
The Governess Affair is a prequel to her Brothers Sinister series. It's not very long, but it still manages to convey the story, the emotion, and the set up for the series.
Serena Barton is a problem. Her stoic, silent presence outside the Duke of Clermont's home is threatening the financial well being of the duke, and therefore of his problem-solver, Hugo Marshall.
The Duke's finances are tied to his wife's happiness and the duchess would be very, very unhappy if she hears just why Miss Barton is outside on the bench. Hugo, who has been promised a significant sum to help the duke regain his wife's affections, must find a way to solve the problem and get rid of Miss Barton.
This is a condensed version of a classic Regency set up. The main difference here is not the heroine but the hero. Usually this ends up with the governess and the peer. This time, it's the governess and a problem solver working for the very man who wronged the heroine. It's a sticky situation, one that surprisingly awakens Hugo's rarely used conscience.
Despite the short length, the characters are vividly portrayed and the romance is believable and moving. It's a very good prequel to the series and made me interested enough to immediately buy the next in the series.
My Grade: A
Hugo Marshall earned the nickname "the Wolf of Clermont" for his ruthless ambition--a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner's son to the right hand man of a duke. When he's ordered to get rid of a pestering governess by fair means or foul, it's just another day at work.
But after everything Miss Serena Barton has been through at the hands of his employer, she is determined to make him pay. She won't let anyone stop her--not even the man that all of London fears. They might call Hugo Marshall the Wolf of Clermont, but even wolves can be brought to heel...